I’ll admit to some skepticism about The Book of Boba Fett. What story is there to tell about this character that hasn’t been trodden over the past 40 years of Star Wars canon? The old Expanded Universe revived Boba Fett from his seeming death in the Sarlacc Pit in the classic Dark Empire comic series, and subsequent storeis went in-depth about a rivalry with the Solo Clan and his eventual anti-heroic leadership of Mandalore in multiple Galactic Wars. His father, Jango (Temeura Morrison), was introduced twenty years ago in Attack of the Clones, a movie so aware of Fett’s importance to the Star Wars aesthetic that it devised a Clone Wars multimedia event literally built from his DNA.
Most problematic, though, is that The Mandalorian, from which this new series spun off, follows the adventures of a Boba Fett-lite character who lifts the classic character’s most appealing attribute wholesale. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), the titular Mandalorian in his show, is a masked bounty hunter with a bunch of cool gadgets and seemingly few moral scruples about his profession. His helmet is slightly different in shape, and he hangs out with other Mandos, but that show’s mass appeal is partially because it started out as the adventures of Not-Boba and Not-Yoda on a Western quest.
When creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni revived Boba Fett in the season 2 premiere, it seemed they were setting up a conflict between our New Boba and Classic Boba. They even brought back Temura Morrison to play Fett, appropriate given the fact that he’s a perfect clone of his father. What would happen when the king returned to the franchise to reclaim his throne as the ultimate man-with-no-name style badass? That was not to be: the two team up immediately for some great fan service in episode 6 before Boba unceremoniously fucks off in the finale so that another character can have his own ‘badass’ cameo. Then the post-credits teased The Book of Boba Fett,
So here we are: a Boba Fett series where the character’s main attributes have been given to another, already popular character. He can’t really be a Bounty Hunter anymore because Djarin does that already. He can’t be an antagonist anymore because we’ve already seen him help save Baby Yoda. The time period of this show is about five years after Return of the Jedi, meaning there is no Empire for him to fight (plenty of remnants, though). What new ground is there to cover with this character? Why does he deserve the second major Disney+ Live-Action show, besides name recognition?
I was pleasantly surprised by The Book of Boba Fett, which was a somewhat slow-burn start to the series. The episode mixes a present-day A plot with a flashback B-plot. The former is O.K., the latter is excellent. Although there are many questions left for the next few weeks to answer, I felt like this was a strong start to the series that makes clear where the character fits into the array of helmeted gunslingers in Disney’s galaxy.
With regards to the flashbacks, I’m glad we finally get to see how Boba escaped the Sarlacc and where he went from there: into the captivity of Tusken Raiders, to whom he proves himself worthy. It’s pretty much exactly what one would’ve expected from this version of Boba’s survival, I guess, but it’s done well and Morrison is a great performer in an episode that is largely devoid of legible dialog.
The ‘present day’ stuff, taking place after the most recent season of The Mandalorian, is a little more mixed for me. I love the “King Conan” style imagery of Boba on what was once Jabba’s Throne, but I don’t feel like this episode makes a good case for why Boba wants to become a crime lord. He’s been a Bounty Hunter all his life, fighting from job to job. Does he simply want to be The Boss now so that nobody can make him feel low? It’s a classic crime story archetype, but I wish it was established a little more clearly from the outset. When it comes to serial fiction I much prefer clear, episodic storytelling, and this feels more like the first of a seven-part story. It does not fail at what it is, but it’s not quite to my taste.
Although his motivations are still somewhat opaque, I like the fact that the show establishes the Boba Fett is not the all-time ass-kicker he once was. He’s not an Old man (in canon, he should be around 40 years old), but he’s been brutalized so severely over time that he might as well be. Morrison is 60 years old, and plays Boba as a tired, 60 year old man who can’t quite keep up with the group of assassins who target him. Being trapped in the Sarlacc and then enslaved in the hot twin suns of Tattooine after a lifetime of endless battle would do that to a man. It’s an interesting take on the character and one that really differentiates him from his successors in story potential and action choreography. Being reliant on medical treatment after the smallest of scrapes is a gaping weakness I am sure his enemies will try to exploit.
What makes Boba qualified to lead a syndicate? I’m glad the show isn’t opening with him as an uber-capable leader of unquestionable martial authority. It will be fun to watch unfold.
Tatooine is the quintessential Star Wars planet, so much so that J.J. Abrams couldn’t avoid using it nonsensically in The Rise of Skywalker. Some complain that the planet is played out, having appeared so frequently, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. It was cool to see a new Desert Monster, which made me think of all the weird Lucasfilm beasts they used to show in spinoff material like the Ewok movies (the Gorax still terrifies!) As a fan of The Phantom Menace, it was nice to see Mos Espa again. It has grown so big! I hope we see Podracers…
The Bad Batch concluded in August, and since then my Star Wars buying has been prolific but also limited by the supply chain issues that have dominated the collector economy.
On the 6” Black Series front, I finally received pre-orders of Aurra Sing, Tech, Koshka Reeves, General Lando, and that droid from The Mandaloriain. My Clone Shock Trooper came in. For Black Friday, I treated myself to an Imperial Crosshair, Luke & Han from A New Hope, and an Incinerator Storm Trooper. I received a Mortor Storm Trooper for Christmas and a Gaming Greats Zaalbar for something or another. Most recently, a long-dormant pre-order of Bohdi Rook came in, completing my Rogue One human crew.
I’m hoping the next wave of 6” figures show up in Indiana or Amazon soon. I’d like to get a Nomad Boba, the new Rogue One Stormtrooper, and Fennec Shand. These figures have already appeared in other parts of the United States so hopefully I find them within the next few weeks. I’ve already pre-ordered a new Cassian Andor, the new Deluxe Cobb Vanth, and the re-armored Boba Fett from the end of The Mandalorian season 2. Those should not arrive for a few months, yet.
Oh, I also pre-ordered the Droids / Holiday Special Boba Fett figure. Because I couldn’t help myself.
Geez. That seems like a lot of action figures. Maybe I wasn’t that limited.
I also bought 3 Lightsabers over the past 5 months in part thanks to friends making trips to Galaxy’s Edge. Patrick sent me Leia’s lightsaber, Dave grabbed me Dooku’s, and I was able to snag one of the Limited Edition Jedi Temple Guardian sets off ShopDisney back in November. I don’t like to think about the fact that, all told, I spent about $800 in Lightsabers during the back half of this year and probably $1000 total. I pay for my hobbies with my hobbies through reselling and freelance work, but still…geeze.
Doesn’t mean I will cancel my pre-order of the new Rey Skywalker saber out next year, though.
With regards to new designs introduced in this episode, I’m mostly limited in my ‘fantasy buying.’ This is because I already own two Gammorean Guards and 3 Tusken Raiders. I don’t need more of those. Fennec was already announced, so I don’t need to hope a figure is made. I’m not sure I need civilian Twi’Leks. Notably the next re-armored Fett I’ve already pre-ordered is demonstrably different in color scheme and under-armor attire from how he looks in this show, so I guess I’m on the hook for another Boba!!!
6” Crime Lord Boba – $30
6″ Sand Covered Fett – $30
6” Tusken Village Leader – $20
6″ Parkour Assassin – $20